February 24, 2016
Larbi Kechat, a central figure in France’s Muslim community for more than 40 years, lost his status as “honorary president” of the Adda’wa mosque, which he had held since 2004, as well as any associated power in the mosque and cultural central, following internal infighting.
The arguments began in 2013. The ACI, the Islamic Cultural Association, which manages worship, is presided over by Ahmed Ouali and the social-cultural center, in charge of the cultural section, by Aissa Amar, who became members in the mid-2000s.
Kechat, in his capacity as honorary president, gathered the Board of Directors on June 7, 2013 and June 22, and held a General Assembly with the purpose of electing new leaders. During the meetings tempers flared regarding doubts as to electing the two presidents. “I found myself in front of a jury, accused of taking gas money for my car even when it was used to go to the mosque,” claimed Ahmed Ouali.
A new board was elected for each association. But as the High Court of Paris would later remark, Kechat did not put things in order: the General Assembly should have, according to the laws, first elected an Administrative Council, which would be charged with constructing a new board.
Kechat’s entourage clarified that in the past this had never been an issue. The two sides refused to pass the power and in September 2013 filed a complaint for “violation of the association agreement.”
In the following two years each side claimed to represent the place of worship and took extensive measures to oust the others. In June 2015 the court annulled all decisions made by the two parties and appointed a temporary administrator, Mr. Lebossé, before organizing the election.
On December 9 the position of “honorary president” was eliminated, stripping Kechat of his powers.
“He has lost all of his powers and is only recognized as a worshipper,” confirmed Yacine Caouat, deputy to the 19th’s mayor.